What Bo Porter remembers about his last time in Nationals Park are tears and disappointment. Then the Nationals’ third base coach, Porter watched Ryan Zimmerman pop out to second, cementing a Cardinals’ comeback victory in Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series and the end of Washington’s season.
The sting of the loss is still with Porter in his first visit back to the park, now as the manager of the Houston Astros.
“At that moment, I think there were tears and frustration and sadness,” Porter said. “We had just lost Game 5, and we felt like we had a world championship team.”
Porter was the third base coach for the Nationals for two seasons before being named manager of the Astros. He stayed on with the Nationals until the end of their postseason run, but in the moment that the Nationals’ season ended sooner than he anticipated, Porter’s new managerial position was far from his mind.
“They always say, the bigger the prize, the bigger the disappointment. When you talk about the opportunity to win the World Series and not accomplishing that feat, it hurt,” Porter said. “I would say it still hurts. You look back on it, and you feel like you had the right team, but it just didn’t happen. Life goes on, and you’ve got to move on. But at that moment, I wasn’t thinking about managing. It was a very sad moment in that clubhouse.”
Porter said he looks back on his experience with the Nationals as one that completely prepared him to be a manager. He has seen similarities between the Nationals’ 2012 team that won the NL East and the Astros.
“When you look at the youth movement that took place here and the core pieces and how they came through the system, and then you look at the youth movement that’s taking place in our organization, the core base have come through our system,” Porter said. “We believe that gives you the best opportunity to sustain your excellence and at the same time, keep your payroll where at a point where you kind of control your core pieces moving forward.”